TCM Reception for Debbie Reynolds Auction a Spectacular Event
As you can see by the photo to the right the personal collection Debbie Reynolds has accrued over the years is a substantial one. And this was only one of the many rooms on multiple floors displaying everything there was to see. Every time I turned I gasped at the next discovery, and the next. You have to see it to believe it.
When I was invited to the exclusive auction preview and cocktail reception celebrating The Debbie Reynolds Hollywood Collection I knew I was going to be constantly dropping my jaw and gasping at all the amazing pieces Reynolds has collected over the years. I was quite prepared to encounter item after item of tangible cinematic history. After all, I had received an auction book (link to site) listing all of the items and I already knew just what I had to see up close and in person. But what I wasn’t prepared for was the amazing quantity of classic Hollywood stars who were mingling about me as I perused the collection. This experience was nothing short of surreal.
I guess I should have known this would be the case. I mean one of the organizers was TCM, and this was Beverly Hills. So I really shouldn’t have been surprised to run into Dick Van Patten (“Eight is Enough, “High Anxiety”) and legendary comedienne Phyllis Diller before I even made it into the building. Once inside Debbie Reynolds was standing right there to greet everyone as they entered. She looked absolutely fantastic in a royal blue sequined pant suit. Boy did that outfit show off her eyes (check out the pictures on the Contact/Photos page). I never realized they were so blue!
I hardly had time to notice the amazing display of the auction items in the first floor lobby when the tall and still very identifiable Richard Anderson caught my eye. Best known as Oscar Goldman in “The Six Million Dollar Man”, Anderson began his feature film career in a biography on Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes called “The Magnificent Yankee” starring Louis Calhern. I stopped him to talk about that film and the possibility of granting me an interview sometime. He very graciously gave me a business card and asked me to call him any time. I look forward to talking to him some more about his experiences on “Paths of Glory” with Kirk Douglas and “Forbidden Planet” with Leslie Nielsen. Check out his imdb.com page sometime, it’s really impressive!
As we made our way from the first floor to the roof top where the reception was being held we passed Mitzi Gaynor (“South Pacific). Not too long after I got a glass of wine in my hand Mimi Rogers had stopped by our table to rummage through her purse. I asked her if she had her eye on anything in particular and she laughed and said she’d be lucky to get a poster. TCM’s Tom Brown then passed by our table and I stalled him long enough to ask why there weren’t more of those short promos for TCM he and Ben Mankiewicz had made together. You know the ones where they visit little known Hollywood hot spots. Apparently location has a lot to do with it - Ben is in LA and Tom is now in Atlanta. Maybe someday.
Shortly after Tom moved along the love of my life spotted astronaut Buzz Aldrin sitting at a table with Ann Rutherford (“Gone with the Wind”). Ruben continued to prod me until I went over and shook his hand (picture on Contact/Photos page). By then my sister Cecelia had joined us and she instrumented an ambush on Debbie Reynolds. We had to catch her between greetings of more important guests, such as director John Landis, to get a picture with her - as always she was just lovely. Of course we kept seeing glimpses of Carrie Fisher floating around, but never got close enough to make contact. All in all, I’d say that was a pretty good round up, but before we left the rooftop I managed to catch a few words with Landis and reminded him of the time we sat next to each other at a Directors Guild screening of the last Indian Jones movie. As always he was dressed very dapper, bounced around with boyish enthusiasm, and was very gracious.
I was thinking I must have hit my star sighting limit as we wandered about the second floor halls when we met up with Ann Jeffreys (picture on Contact/Photos page) as she roamed along by herself. We talked about our last meeting on the TCM red carpet at the Classic Film Festival, and her busy schedule lately before heading off in different directions. I was just turning away from Gary Cooper’s uniform from “Sergeant York” when I nearly literally ran into Rene Russo. She was just as thrilled as I was by all the wonderful costumes and items, and admitted to me that her favorite was the Elizabeth Taylor head dress from “Cleopatra”. Looking as stunning as ever I’m sure if there’s anyone living who can pull off wearing it, she can.
As we made our way back down to the main hall we talked with some of the remaining exhibit stragglers. One was The Lone Ranger, Clayton Moore’s daughter and the other a Senior Vice President at Disney - talk about an eclectic group. As much as I consider myself a devoted admirer of these types of events, every single other person at the Paley Center that night was just as much so. Their collective fondness for all things classic cinema showed in the joy and excitement that permeated each and every room. I’m so glad I got to experience that and I encourage others to visit the Paley Center while the display remains intact right up until the auction on June 18th. Besides catching a glimpse of some real Hollywood history you just might find yourself face to face with a mutual fan who also happens to be a living legend. Hey, you never know, this is Hollywood.